(dry) "Fitted stone" facades

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In preparation for house paint (probably this Summer/Fall), I'm trying to decide what to do with the porches. Exterior of each is cheap, painted paneling. Rest of house is stucco over block.
I could stucco both but that seems pretty boring.
Another option is tongue and groove planks -- possibly set at a 45 to the floor (for a "swept" look). Natural stain.
Yet another option (my favorite) is a fitted stone facade. But, the sort where there are no grout lines -- just very tightly fitted stones (the stones having shapes similar to *bricks* -- of various sizes). I.e., the wall feels almost flat -- but rough.
They are not structural -- perhaps just a couple of inches thick (front to back) and no stone/brick is more than an inch or two "tall".
A cursory look at these sorts of walls (usually on commercial establishments, not residences) *suggests* that they are individual stones and someone just was incredibly patient/lucky to manage to ALWAYS find "just the right stone" for the odd shape that needed to be filled.
I'm pretty sure I don't believe that! I suspect they are prefabbed in some way (like the little 1" tiles you encounter on bathroom floors -- sold in 12x12" SHEETS (so you don't have to set each individual tile!). But, the arrangement of "cracks"/edges is so busy that it's virtually impossible to *see* an underlying pattern!
Can anyone confirm that they are, in fact, sold as "assemblies"? That I don't have to budget weeks of time to preisely fitting a gazillion little rectangular blocks?
And, as there appears to be no mortar (between "courses"), how they are attached to the structure?
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On 2/16/2016 5:58 PM, Don Y wrote:

Are you talking about stacked stone? I'm not really clear what you're referring to. Got a link or some picture?
I like the idea of the planks. That sounds really pretty.
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On 2/16/2016 5:11 PM, SeaNymph wrote:

No. There are a few commercial establishments in town that use the stuff in which I'm interested. I will have to take a camera and snap some closeups (anything from a distance wouldn't show the closeness of fit)

It has the advantage of presenting a contrast to visitors. Instead of the heaviness of the (painted) stucco, it's more organic and "rich". We may partially enclose both porches so this approach would make the areas feel more like rooms than "exterior areas".
In either case, I figure I can just apply <whatever> as a veneer over the existing paneling, etc. (unless I opt to remove it to increase the R value of that wall)
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On 2/18/2016 12:39 AM, Don Y wrote:

Some time with google turned up this: <
http://southwestblock.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Stacked_Stone_1271348324.jpg

Not exactly what I was describing but illustrates the key aspects: - "stones" are not uniform in size/shape (i.e., doesn't look like bricks!) - they are roughly the same color (unlike some that are multicolored) - the surface is somewhat flat (no big indents or protrusions) - stones fit together *tight* - no grout/mortar lines evident - any "pattern" is difficult to discern (the suggestion that this was pieced together from individual, unique stones and not cookie cutter)
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On 2/18/2016 2:33 AM, Don Y wrote:

That is exactly what I have around the wood stove downstairs, except for the colorc and I still hate it <g>
It's called stacked stone around here.
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2016 16:58:46 -0700, Don Y

You have natural stone like this http://www.nsvi.com/ You also have man made products like this http://www.eldoradostone.com/
If you are somewhat far away you can use the Eldorado stuff but up close you want the natural stone. The cultured stone is very regular in height and you just stack them up. The natural stone can be diamond cut or split. Diamond cut is very regular too. The split stone looks better but there is a lot of hand fitting. We made an entertainment center, electric fire place etc with the split NVSI stone and I thought it came out well but doing the puzzle takes a little time.
http://gfretwell.com/ftp/cabinet/Our%20new%20Entertainment%20center_files/image010.jpg
This is mostly done in this picture but I had not finished the wood trim, the kicks and the far panel.
http://gfretwell.com/ftp/cabinet%202015.jpg
All of the panels open and the whole thing is on wheels.
http://gfretwell.com/ftp/cabinet%202015%20open.jpg
You put down expanded metal stucco lath, mortar it and stick on the stone like you would do tile. I like "flex" mortar because it really sticks. Then use a wet tooth brush to remove any mortar that squeezes out. That usually means you used too much mortar.
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On 2/16/2016 7:37 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Most of those photos are what I think of as stacked stone. And the stone seems to be in small sections because that's the way it is currently coming loose. The wood stove insert downstairs has that stacked stone and I hate it, mainly because it's drab and more because over the years sections of it have come loose. Can't wait to take it off and replace it with something else.
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On Wed, 17 Feb 2016 06:52:49 -0600, SeaNymph

If you set it with flex mortar it isn't going to come loose. The cultured stone is pretty drab looking but the natural stone is vibrant and you can hit it with a sealer like stone glamor to really bring up the color if you want. I like it natural. The real advantage of natural stone is it is not going to fade in the sun and it is very stain resistant. The same is not going to be true of the cultured product. There are also lots of kinds of stone.
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On 2/17/2016 10:21 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Seems that everything in this house is maple, the floors, the cabinets, the window frames. There is a lot of maple in this house and that's the way it was when we bought it. The walls are painted in nice, rich colors and while that helps, it's not enough, imo.
We've already changed the countertops and the downstairs wood stove surround is next.
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On 2/17/2016 11:38 AM, SeaNymph wrote:

Be thankful. Here, most interiors are textured wallboard, ceramic/saltillo tile floors and cabinets that don't seem to "fit" with the rest of the decor.
We opted to go with hickory (though I much prefer aged knotty pine or maple -- but not birdseye) throughout the house -- so you are reminded of it instead of just encountering it in the kitchen. Tries to counter the "stoney" aspect of the stucco, textured walls, etc.
Currently deciding if we want to surround the rooms with hickory crown and/or replace the drywall corners with hickory 2x2's.

Removing the beehive fireplace will be the next interior "project"; before I lay the tile.
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On 2/18/2016 2:49 AM, Don Y wrote:

My husband does wood working as a hobby and I'm a big fan of natural wood. That being said, it's rather overwhelming sometimes. The maple is not birdseye and it's beautiful wood. But a little more contract is what I'm looking for.
This house has no drywall "corners". It was one of the first things I noticed and I would imagine few people notice that sort of thing.
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On 2/18/2016 6:27 AM, SeaNymph wrote:

I grew up with a "country kitchen" (knotty pine cabinets and wainscotting), mahogany tongue-groove paneled living room (ditto for the full basement), natural finish on all interior doors, stained wood trim around wooden windows, hardwood floors, etc. It's a much warmer feeling than the tile and (white) textured drywall + ceiling, here.
However, different architectural style (and different building techniques) makes it hard to effect many changes.
E.g., frontier style home means roof is ceiling. Roof, of course, can't be "flat" as it needs SOME pitch to prevent ponding. That translates to ceilings not being "flat" (parallel to ground).
As a result, anything you put up near the ceiling highlights the fact that it is not flat!
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On 2/17/2016 10:21 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

q: In the photos, it looks like it's a fireplace below the tv. Doesn't the heat from the fireplace also heat up the tv? Wouldn't the heat do damage?
--
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wrote:

It is an electric with a 1.44kw heater. The blower gets the heat away from the TV pretty well. It does not seem to get warm above the mantel We seldom turn the heater on anyway. I have fans in the 2 equipment bays beside the fire place to get the heat from those components out. I used a remote sense thermometer to verify that I was not over heating anything. There are 2 satellite boxes, a PC, a ReplayTV, a DVD player, a disk carousel and 2 UPS units in there.
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On 2/17/2016 11:25 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

yeah, I saw lots of components in the shelves. That was going to be my next question - if they heated up much being next to the heater like that. I couldn't see any fans, though, but that would do the trick for sure. Thanks!
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On Wed, 17 Feb 2016 23:33:44 -0600, Muggles

The electric insert runs cool to the touch, even with the heat on. The fans are in the back and vent the air up the back of the cabinet. It really does not take that much air flow to cool it. Two 4" "whisper" fans do it and you don't really even hear them running. It pulls the air from the bottom where it is naturally cooler.
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On 2/17/2016 11:56 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

awe ... I can picture how that would work. I have a small fan pointed up towards the ceiling where my oil heater sits. The warm air from it gets caught in the fan circulation and really keeps the entire room warm. I guess it doesn't take a big fan to do that. Mines about an 8 inch fan.
--
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On Thu, 18 Feb 2016 00:35:07 -0600, Muggles

When I was doing the heat load calcs on the components I used my Killawatt power monitor set to display current. Watts are really heat. (1kw ~ 3400 BTU) It turned out the satellite boxes were the biggest power hogs, even bigger than the PC, decoding a movie file. I split them up, one on each side. I am dissipating a few hundred watts on each side, max. It is not enough to significantly heat the room but it would make those equipment bays toasty without the fans. I am getting rid of the DVD and the Replay. My PC plays DVDs fine. I really want to get rid of the satellite too and be entirely online streaming along with a DVR that will record OTA. I have another, more capable PC ready to go that has the DVR card and the software but I just have not been ready to rewire that whole mess. As I said, the whole thing is on wheels so I can roll it out into the room to rewire. With all of that stone the center segment weighs about 500-600 pounds but I have six "office machine" caster sets on it so it rolls pretty easy. The book case on the left rolls too. The one on the right is fixed, since there wasn't really anywhere for it to roll anyway. It also has drawers instead of sliding panels (again nowhere to slide) and if it wasn't fastened to the wall the weight of the stone faced drawers would pull it over, even if they were empty. When everything is closed up, the stone fits tight enough that most people don't even realize it will open up.
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On 2/18/2016 1:26 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

That's a big and heavy unit! I didn't realize it was portable until you mentioned it here. I missed that in your previous posts.
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On Thu, 18 Feb 2016 10:48:23 -0600, Muggles

The entertainment center we had before was fixed and wiring was a real nightmare. Being able to roll it out and get to the back makes it a lot easier to connect things and maintaining good wire management is easy. I have lots of those velcro straps in the back so I can tie everything up neatly. That fake chimney also acts as a wire chase to get the things coming from and going to other places easy. (through the attic) It also gave me an interesting tunnel for the train.
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